NBA players’ association president Derek Fisher sent a letter to players Tuesday. The letter was written as a way to squash the rampant rumors and to solidify the associations unified stance when it comes to brokering the best deal possible for the present players.
The letter is not a good sign that things are going well within the players camp as the letter looks to stop the growing dissension amongst the ranks. The current players have the most to lose, they are not getting paid. The owners, who stand to lose less money with a lockout, can and will do anything to broker the best deal possible for their side.
This sort of give and take is bound to and will happen. Negotiations are all about leverage and the time and place you plan to use that leverage in order to make the deal happen. It is just a matter of time before the players are forced to put all their cards on the table. In about two months, all the games will be canceled and all the leverage the players currently have will be canceled out with the games.
The average NBA career is about three years and we are on the verge of seeing the average NBA player forgo 33% of their earnings potential. Desperate times call for desperate measures and we are about to see which side is the most desperate.
The full text of the letter is below:
Interesting times right now. The clock is ticking and we are aware that games are being lost, our jobs are on the line as are those of all the arena workers and business owners impacted by the lockout.
We have been prepared for this and need to make sure we are getting the best deal possible. As this sets the precedent for the next 6, 7, 10 even 20 years. My goal, the Executive Committee’s ONLY goal is to present you with the most fair deal possible. A deal that is both fair on system and BRI. One isn’t more important than the other. They are both extremely impactful to our business, our sport and our day to day life in the league.
Our Executive Committee, NBPA staff and I are navigating the negotiations very carefully. We need to continue to work hard on your behalf and get the season going if possible. I’ve been speaking with many of you and we are working with your opinions, suggestions, and requests front and center. This is your union, and we work with and for you.
Many of you have asked about the timing of the cancellation of games. We know as players and interacting with our fans and the people that work in these arenas on a daily basis this is having an impact. If nothing more, the league and owners should understand people’s livelihoods are at stake. They should be able to take the over 1 Billion dollars we’ve offered them and open the doors of their arenas and let us, along with the ushers, parking attendants, everyone impacted to get back to work.
Usually I wouldn’t even dignify absurd media reports with a comment. But before these reports go any further, let me say on the record to each of you, my loyalty has and always will be with the players. Anyone that questions that or doubts that does not know me, my history, and what I stand for. And quite frankly, how dare anyone call that into question. The Players Association is united and any reports to the contrary are false. There have been no side agreements, no side negotiations or anything close. We are united in serving you and presenting the best options and getting everyone back to work.
The attempt by “sources” to divide us will be unsuccessful. We will continue to work every day to do right by you, the businesses that depend on our league and our fans.
The NBA and the owners have not allowed us to go back to work. So they have essentially turned their backs on not only the players, but the fans that have made them billions. I hope they decide to change that. It’s the only way everyone wins. I urge each of you to stay involved. Call me and your fellow players on the Executive Committee and the NBPA staff with anything you need or questions you may have.
I will be in touch later this week with updates on the details of the negotiations. Stand United.
With much respect,